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How to Help Your Dog Recover After Surgery

After your dog has had surgery, you have a pivotal role in helping your canine companion fully recover. Attentive and diligent post-op care is important to ensure your pup gets back to their daily routine as soon as possible. Our vets in Central Illinois offer some advice on how to care for your dog after surgery.

Follow Surgical Post-Op Instructions Closely

As you prepare your dog for surgery and help them recover following the procedure, both of you will probably experience some stress. That said, knowing how to care for your furry best friend while they resettle at home is important to helping them return to their routine as soon as possible, and transition smoothly. 

After your dog's procedure, your vet will provide clear, detailed instructions regarding how to care for your pet at home. Reading these and following them closely will be essential to your pup's safe, successful recovery. Be sure to clarify any steps you do not understand with your vet.

Even if you realize you've forgotten how to complete a specific action in your vet's instructions after you arrive home, feel free to call our clinic to ask questions. 

Depending on which surgery is needed, it will either be performed in-house or we'll refer you to a professional veterinary surgeon near Central Illinois. 

Whether our vets perform the procedure or you are referred to a specialist, our team at Pekin Veterinary Clinic is committed to providing the highest quality of care to your dog - and offering tips on what you can do at home with post-op care to ensure your pet's recovery progresses as planned.

Effects of General Anesthetic

It's likely that your vet sedated your dog using a general anesthetic to keep your pooch unconscious and prevent them from feeling any pain during surgery. Effects of anesthesia can take some time to wear off after they come out of the procedure. 

Feeding Your Dog After Surgery

Your dog may not have much of an appetite after surgery. This along with nausea is a common after-effect of anesthetic. You might want to offer a half-size portion of a light meal such as rice or chicken. Your dog may find this easier to digest than the regular food you'd purchase from a pet store. 

If your dog is not eating immediately after surgery, do not be alarmed. Your pooch's appetite should return within 24 hours, at which time you can start to gradually reintroduce their normal food. If your dog still won't eat more than 48 hours after surgery, contact your veterinarian (or vet surgeon if you've been referred to one). Loss of appetite can indicate infection. 

Managing Your Dog’s Pain After Surgery

Following surgery, your veterinarian will take time to explain any pain relievers or medications they need to prescribe for your pet so you can prevent infection and manage post-surgery discomfort or pain.

The vet will brief you on the dose needed, how often the medication should be administered and how you can do so safely. To prevent unnecessary pain as your dog recovers and to eliminate risk of side effects, be sure to follow these instructions carefully. If you are unsure of any instructions, ask follow-up questions.

Some dogs may be high-strung or experience anxiety post-surgery. If this is the case for your pooch, your vet may also prescribe anti-anxiety medication or sedatives to help your pet remain calm while they heal.

A word of caution: Never give your dog human medications without consulting your veterinarian first. While medications for people help us feel better, they are dangerous for our dogs and other pets.

Set Up a Quiet, Comfortable Space

Your dog will need a quiet space to rest and recover. This spot should have a soft bed with room for them to spread out, away from the hustle of the rest of the household. This soft bed is important as it can help prevent undue pressure on bandaged or sensitive parts of your pet’s body.

Dog Shaking or Coughing After Surgery

Have you noticed your dog shaking or coughing after surgery?

If your dog had a tube placed in their trachea (windpipe) while receiving anesthesia, this may have caused mild irritation and a slight cough. A mild post-surgical cough will usually diminish over the next few days. Contact our hospital if coughing persists or worsens.

Shaking after surgery is typically an after-effect of anesthesia or pain control medication. Have your pet frequently eat small amounts of food, then hold them in your lap or sit next to them while speaking to them and giving lots of reassuring pets. The extra love and attention will help.

Restrict your Pet’s Movement

For a specified period after surgery, your vet may recommend limiting your dog’s movement and physical activity. Sudden stretching or jumping can disrupt recovery and cause incisions to reopen.

Depending on the surgery, you may not need to take significant measures such as complete cage or crate rest to confine your dog. Most dogs will be able to stay inside for a few days, making essential trips for bathroom breaks outdoors.

That said, you may find it difficult to prevent your dog from climbing stairs or jumping on furniture they like to nap on. To prevent him from doing this, if you are unable to provide direct supervision you may need to keep your pup in a safe, comfortable room of the house.

If your dog happens to be recovering from orthopedic surgery, he or she may need to be confined to a laundry sized or smaller pen with gradually increasing amounts of exercise as recovery progresses.

Do you have questions about your dog's upcoming surgery at Pekin Veterinary Clinic? Contact our Central Illinois vets today. We look forward to addressing any inquiries or concerns you may have.

Caring for Pets in Central Illinois

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